Tag Archives: vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables: Fresh or Frozen?

Let’s talk about FRUITS and VEGETABLES. You either love em or hate em! Don’t worry, I am not going to tell you to “EAT YO FRUITS AND VEGGIES!” (although you should)

Due to my busy schedule (I shop once a week), budget and just out of convenience, I opt for frozen veggies and fruits (berries). I get asked a lot if frozen is good for you. So today we’re going to talk about that!

Fresh or Frozen?

We’ve always been told to eat fresh foods instead of frozen. That is true, but when it comes to fruits and vegetables, it can be a bit tricky.

Fresh may not always be best.

Research has shown that in many cases, frozen produce are just as nutritious as fresh produce and sometimes, they contain more nutrients! This is because nutrient levels gradually decrease over time (during transit from farm to supermarkets). This is the part where if left for too long, become brown/black, soft and rot!

Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak, when they have the highest amount of nutrients. The process of freezing slows the ripening process, retains these nutrients and prevents them from breaking down (slows enzymatic reactions).

Of course, this does not apply to all frozen foods but it does give you more options when you don’t have time to buy fresh produce!

Keep in mind that the method of cooking also affects the nutrient levels in food. For example, water soluble vitamin Bs can be loss in the cooking water. Other vitamins such as vitamin C are heat sensitive.

Another handy tip when buying fruits and vegetables is to buy whatever is in season! That way, you get to eat a wide variety each time and of course, cost efficient!

Personally, I find it stressful if I buy a heap of veggies that would not even last the week in my fridge! I end up throwing them away, which is such a waste. So for me, I mix fresh and frozen!

Let me know if you have any questions!

 

Where do vegetarians get their protein?

Before we jump into where vegetarians/vegans get their protein, we need to know how much protein our body needs to function optimally. The Institute of Medicine suggests that the average adult should consume about 46-56 grams of protein a day. By looking at it in terms of percentage, 10-35% of your daily calories would have to consist of proteins. Unless you’re a serious body builder or somebody who is keeping track of your macros, you probably wouldn’t give a hoot about these numbers. To help you visualise this, one large chicken breast contains about 30 grams of protein. So, if you’re happy, healthy and eating a perfectly normal diet, you should be getting enough proteins into your system, maybe even more.

Many plant-based proteins lack certain amino acids that are found in animal protein. Vegetarians/vegans would need to combine a few plant-based proteins, like tofu and brown rice, in order to get the complete set of essential amino acids that are found in animal protein.

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My personal favourite green proteins in no particular order are:

  • TOFU!
  • Black beans
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Quinoa (you can buy cereals that contain them)
  • Chickpeas
  • Brown Rice
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds

Just thinking about that list makes me HUNGRY! If you cannot stand their individual taste, there are many ways that you can incorporate them into your meals. You can toss them in your salad, make soups or even add them to your breakfast yoghurt or froyo!

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Froyo and pumpkin seeds, my favourite! Trust me, your taste buds would sing! Also, you’ll be getting plenty of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that come with eating plant-based proteins (plus points!).

Don’t worry if you end up consuming too much protein, just as long as they’re plant-based proteins. Recent studies have shown that increasing plant-based protein intake to 20-25% of calories while cutting out refined carbohydrates can reduce the risk of heart disease.

I still get stares and I can feel the people around me rolling their eyes when I eat a very vege-fied meal. Even my kakak has a few things to say about my lifestyle. Well, I don’t really blame them. Throughout history, meaty meals were a symbol of an affluent lifestyle. Meals without meat were for the poor. These are just perceptions that humans have created.

Do it for yourself and your health. Famous Olympic coach Joe Vigil did not say “…eat as though you were a poor man…” for no reason! That translates to lots of whole grains and vegetables!

 

Have you eaten your veges?

Part-Time Vegetarian!

When I started running, my diet changed along with it. I felt the need to complete the “healthy lifestyle” package by eating nutrient-rich whole foods. Soon, I found myself chowing down on whole grains, fruits and vegetables only at least 5 days in a week. Refined carbohydrates – sugar, white flour- were pretty much eliminated. Before your jaw drops and your eyes pop, I do give myself “off days” and indulge in all the sinful sweet treats from cakes to cookies to ice cream. Don’t worry, I am still human. My advice is, never go cold turkey. Everything should be done in moderation. Remember, this is not a “diet”. It is a lifestyle and it has to be sustainable.

Assortment of fruitsI always had a thing for fruits and vegetables so my body really loved this change. But with all that running, I lost quite a bit of weight. In fact to the point where my family and friends were all wondering if I was eating enough. Despite looking like a Somali kid, I was bursting with energy. No matter what I did throughout the day, I always ended it with a good long run. When my weight dipped even further, I made a conscious effort to eat a little more. I started loading up on proteins. When you think of protein you would think of meat (usually). That meant I was eating more meat. Finally after 3 years, I managed to gain a whopping 10kg.MangoAlthough my weight was “back to normal”, eating more meat caused another problem. It left me feeling sluggish. I found it hard to put in my evening runs and would usually suffer from indigestion after a meaty meal.

You may have heard that you need to load up on lean meat and down protein shakes (especially after a workout)  in order to build/sustain muscle mass. Well, I did a little research and I found that quite a number of endurance athletes are vegans/vegetarians. Scott Jurek, 7 time Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run champ, bases his diet on whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Similar to what I was eating before the meaty saga began. The thing about consuming meaty-bulky-protein rich foods is that it takes a lot of energy and time to digest. There are many plant based foods that contain all the necessary proteins and amino acids which can serve as building blocks for muscles (More on that in my next post!). Also, we tend to overestimate the amount of protein our body needs.

Cruise fruits

These days, I try to cut back on my intake of meat but I make sure I make up for it elsewhere. It seems that I’ve been eating A LOT of fruits and vegetables so much so that people are claiming that I’m a vegetarian. I’ve been known by many as the girl who only eats green apples. I still LOVE my meats (BEEF! PORK! LAMB! SALMON! CHICKEN!) and I don’t think I can live without them. To skip the confusion, I’ve given myself a new title: Part-time vegetarian!

Meat free mondayMeat-Free Monday meals!

Hi, I’m Adele and I’m a part-time vegetarian. Catchy.